Obama health care reform

June 22, 2009 1:54:45 PM PDT
Those on both sides of the aisle took on the proverbial gorilla in the room: out of control health care costs and just what can be done to fix it.The White House says the country has no choice but to revamp its health care program. But big questions remain: how and how much?

To push an overhaul to the health care system forward, President Obama is reaching back to the momentum from the election.

"I have to repeat and revive an old saying we had from the campaign: 'Yes, we can.'"

As lawmakers work on shaping health care reform legislation this summer, the President is trying to take control of the debate. Mr. Obama has brought former opponents into the fold such as the powerful drug companies. He praised an agreement with the pharmaceutical industry to help cut some Medicare costs by closing the so-called "donut" hole, the gap in prescription coverage for seniors and offering $80 billion dollars in discounts over 10 years.

"Real health care reform that reduces the spiraling costs of health services and extends quality, affordable health coverage to all Americans will require these kinds of commitments throughout the system."

And if the President is tapping into the campaign slogan, "Yes We Can", some groups, such as unions, are tapping into the election motto of *change*, in this case, to the health care system.

But Mr. Obama and his allies face staunch opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and Republican lawmakers.

They have mobilized against a public, government-funded option, in part for its eye-popping trillion dollar price tag.

"So far there is no cost savings in anything that we have been addressing," said Senator John McCain of Arizona.

The most recent ABC News poll shows 65-percent of those surveyed approve of the President's job performance. He has a 53-percent approval on health care. But Mr. Obama shows some weakness on other economic issues: below 50-percent on how he's handing the deficit, and the auto industry bailout.

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